Sample college recommendation (undergraduate)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am very pleased to recommend Martha Holden for admission to your university program. As her guidance counselor for three years I have watched this young woman develop both academically and personally into a mature individual ready in every way for her college years.

Martha is bright, energetic, compassionate and genuinely well rounded. Her grades have been consistently above average in all of her courses, and she has actively participated in a diverse assortment of extracurricular activities ranging from track and field and chorus to the school yearbook and our drama club. 

Martha has also spent considerable time outside the school involved in the community.  This has included work with Meals on Wheels and volunteering 10 hours a week at one of our area's shelters for battered and abused women. 

They think so much of her at the shelter they have offered her a paid internship for next summer. Previously, this internship had never been awarded to anyone before the end of their college sophomore year. Despite all the preparations that will be required for going off to college next fall, Martha told me she is absolutely thrilled about this opportunity and feels it will enhance her university studies.

Unlike many students who are not sure which field to pursue, Martha has made clear to us all that her goal is to do Social Work. To this end she has worked tirelessly in our pilot program for mentoring Special Education students mainstreamed into our school.

In closing, let me take a moment to recount an incident which I believe speaks volumes about the superior nature of this candidate. Two years ago I was returning from lunch to my office when I saw ahead of me in the hallway 90 pound Martha, arms stretched out between two 180+ pound students, one a Special Ed student and the other a school bully. Other students were standing by motionless or laughing while Martha showed the leadership and courage to immediately put an end to the embarrassing fight that had erupted.

It is clear to me as I hope it is to you that this young woman, Martha Holden, is an exceptional candidate, one that would contribute greatly to any program. I wholeheartedly recommend her and wish her the very best in all future endeavors.

Sincerely,

Jean Atkins
Senior Counselor
Alexander Hamilton High School

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Sample college recommendation (graduate)

To Whom It May Concern:

As Principal of George Mason High School I am delighted to recommend to you a stellar member of our teaching staff, Mr. Samuel Cohen, and to write this letter on his behalf. Sam has taught American History at the school for three years. He is one of our most popular and effective instructors and has already won several teaching awards.

He came to us directly upon completion of his bachelor’s degree, but immediately settled in as if an old pro. Sam is a master of all of the ingredients of successful teaching, especially the ability to inspire.

This gentleman is highly professional in both dress and demeanor. To my knowledge Sam has never come to work without both a suit and tie, more times than not a bow tie. The majority of others at the school, both teachers and students, dress differently and lean to more informality. Never once, however, has Sam’s manner of dress elicited the slightest comment. Why? It is simply because Sam’s attire seems entirely natural given his dignified comportment.

That comportment in turn is driven by Sam’s love and respect for American History. Sam views himself as the messenger for something serious and important, and this is reflected in the way he teaches and in the way his students respond.

Reaction to Sam’s classes has been overwhelmingly positive. So much so that more than once it has been reported to me that study hall students have been spotted lingering outside the door to Sam’s classroom listening to his lessons.

Sam’s impact has even been felt outside the school with the parents themselves. His section on the importance of voting has inspired students to cajole their parents to register to vote. Several have mentioned this to me at parent-teacher meetings. One even called the school to have me pass on their thanks to Mr. Cohen.

The only thing that we in the school administration have ever worried about in regard to Sam is the prospect of funding his bottled water. Sam is such a passionate and prolific speaker that he needs a steady supply to maintain his voice. So far we have gotten a pass on this, as students have bought it for him, including what must have been a year’s supply on his last birthday.

It will be a sad day when we announce that Sam will be pursuing his graduate degree on a fulltime basis. We can only hope that he keeps his promise and returns to us as soon as the ink is dry on his new diploma.

Sincerely,

Harold W. Brown
Principal
George Mason High School

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Sample fellowship recommendation

To Whom It May Concern:

It gives me great satisfaction to recommend John H. Smythe for the Salem-McKenzie Fellowship in Specialized Journalism. I was John’s professor in three undergraduate Communications courses and worked closely with him at both our college radio station and campus video center.

Like a number of my former students, John has kept in touch. Through his letters I stayed abreast of his television news career in Sacramento and witnessed his development as a professional journalist.

It came as a wonderful surprise last year when John announced his intention to return to school for his master’s degree. Knowing John I am sure he has exhibited the same enthusiasm for his graduate studies as he did with us.

John is highly charismatic and has a terrific on air presence. More importantly, he thinks critically, reasons well and has all the instincts of a good reporter.

His grace under pressure became abundantly apparent to me during John’s junior year. John hosted our weekly TV interview show, “Live on the Mall”, which is fed via closed circuit across the university. As John was discussing campus politics with the president of the student government, a fire broke out in one of the dormitories. John immediately headed toward the blaze and began covering the story. Back at the video center the technician called all the local television stations, three of which wanted John’s feed and went live with it for more than half an hour. The fire was quite unsettling and involved considerable damage as well as loss of life. John’s calm professionalism shown through so much that his feed was also picked up briefly by two national cable news channels.

John also has a good feel for balanced and objective reporting. Case in point, while John was with us a supremacist group sprang up on campus. Although not sanctioned by the university, the group was allowed to conduct a rally. This drew protests from the vast majority of the student body. Nevertheless, John felt it important for freedom of speech to interview the group’s leaders on his show.

The interview, conducted on the mall, drew a large demonstration with animus directed not only at the group’s leaders but also at John. A number of John’s friends held this against him, but he unequivocally believed what he did was right. I would go so far as to say it was not only right but a reflection of mature journalistic judgment.

It was a real honor to witness John’s development here at the university and it has been a joy to watch his growth since then. I cannot imagine a better recipient of this fellowship. I enthusiastically recommend him to you.

Sincerely,

David P. Kroger
Professor of Communications
Davis University

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Sample chef recommendation

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with pride that I recommend Gina Marie Sullivan for a responsible position in your pastry department. I am chef-proprietor of River’s Edge Inn, a restaurant in Hudson Valley, New York.

Gina Marie has been with my establishment for more than four years. She began while still in high school working an entry level position in my kitchen. Upon graduating she came on board fulltime doing food prep and working the hot line. Occasionally she would help me with our breads and the signature desserts for which River’s Edge is well known.

Over time Gina Marie became more and more interested in the pastry end of the business, learning from me but also from experimentation and independent study. She has a definite flair for pastries, and has surpassed my abilities in many respects.

It is only right that she be allowed to develop her talent to the extent of its limits. I understand and support her desire to seek employment in a large Manhattan kitchen.

Let me say that I have no doubt she can adeptly meet the challenges. She has shown me repeatedly that she is profoundly dedicated and responsible. She has done double shifts, worked on most holidays, and filled in a number of times for wait staff.

Gina Marie is also the personification of calmness in tough situations. Two months ago she spent all day creating five fabulous Gâteaux de Madame (Génoise cake filled with Chantilly cream and covered with shaved chocolate). This was for a party of thirty-five. As the cakes were leaving the kitchen, all on one cart for presentation effect, one of the two attendant waiters tripped and knocked over the cart. Her creations crashed on the floor. Not concerned about recrimination, and in no sense panicked, Gina Marie proceeded immediately to review ingredients on hand in the kitchen. She managed in short order to produce thirty-five parfait glasses of Romanoff complete with ripe strawberries, Grand Marnier and a garnish of fresh whipped cream.

Even though it would continue to benefit my restaurant and its customers, I would feel guilty and be doing her a disservice to persuade her to stay. And so I refer to you a genuinely talented young lady whom I feel is already evolving into a first-rate pastry chef.

Sincerely,

Chef Samuel Wimet
Owner, River’s Edge Inn

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Sample engineer recommendation

To Whom It May Concern:

It is a distinct pleasure to recommend to you my esteemed business associate and long time friend William J. Marshall. In my capacity as Vice President of Marketing at Lacotex Corporation I have worked closely with William for more than a decade.

As Director of Engineering William has managed the design of more than two hundred Lacotex products. His work has been a major factor in our company's continued success in the machined components industry. He has proven consistently that customer need and company profit are not mutually exclusive.

Like most manufacturing businesses, our company is organized into functions. Engineering interacts with virtually all of them. There are natural tensions between the functions which if not managed correctly can prove disastrous. William has always understood the old axiom that we rise or fall together and has made teamwork with others job number one for his department.

I can remember the nature of our weekly management meetings ten years ago before William arrived. We would spend most of the allotted two hours pointing fingers at each other any time problems needed to be solved. When William came on board the meetings changed dramatically. He showed us all how to get beyond the blame game.

William has a zest for life and has a variety of interests. He can relate to people in many ways and on many levels, and would have made a great sales executive. In fact, William’s people skills have saved the day for on more than one occasion. 

A particularly difficult account springs to mind. It was a company run by a hard-boiled individual that neither I nor any of our sales people could ever seem to get close to and consequently could never sell much to. We asked William to join us on a call to this difficult customer. In the course of the sales meeting William noticed a picture of the man beaming with pride as he stood next to a young woman in a basketball uniform. William asked about the picture and then struck up a long conversation about the subtleties of women’s basketball and what turned out to be the man’s daughter. To make a long story short we left hours later with new business in an account that has grown to be our fourth largest.

I could continue on with more glowing accounts of William, but will instead simply say that I really do think the world of him and respect him greatly. It saddens us all the William must leave us so he can relocate to help with his aging in-laws.

I would without any reservation recommend William to you. He would be a tremendous asset in any company.

Sincerely,

Frank Pierce
Vice President, Marketing
Lacotex Corporation

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Sample librarian recommendation

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter provides me the opportunity to recommend my Assistant Director, Jennifer Alistair, for the position of Library Director at the Main Library in the Farris County, Colorado Public Library System.

Jennifer came to us upon finishing her Master of Library Science degree and first worked as a Reference Librarian. After three years she was promoted to Assistant Director, a position she has performed well in.

With her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Jennifer has been invaluable as we have transitioned to a digital environment. 

She chaired the countywide committee that reengineered our Information Management and Delivery System two years ago. She also worked on the follow-up committee to oversee the implementation of changes. Through her efforts and those of others on the committees, countywide we are slated to save more than $2 million dollars annually while simultaneously providing much improved, state-of-the-art services to patrons.

Jennifer is well prepared for the social interplay that goes hand and hand with the director’s job. She displayed an infectious zeal during her tenure as Reference Librarian and was very popular with the public. She has aptly administered the twenty-five individuals in her areas. Through her committee work she has also shown considerable ability for managing disparate forces both inside and outside the library.

Jennifer is rightly seeking additional challenge and since there are currently no opportunities in our system it is only natural for her to look elsewhere. For this I commend her.

Bright, dedicated and skilled, Jennifer garners my unequivocal recommendation. She is ready and fully prepared to assume the duties of Director at your library.

Sincerely,

Amanda Wrigley
Director, Central Library

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20 additional sample letters of recommendation*

Recommendation letters for a range of careers.  All in a convenient RTF file for you to save
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